This blog is Part 1 of our two-part series discussing the processing requirements of a precision machine company for precision parts. Read Part 2 here.
Machining parts with tight tolerances is one of the most important aspects of any precision machine company regarding processing requirements. Precision machining requires meticulous workmanship – numerous essential steps must be followed to achieve the best results. A machining company must meet all the processing requirements for precision parts, from how it performs for the customer to ensuring efficiency throughout the fabrication process. Concentrating on making the process more economical serves to create productive long-term relationships between a precision machine company and its customers.
To better comprehend the processing requirements for precision parts, a customer must understand the primary stages machining companies go through to prepare, manufacture and finish their projects. Though some of these steps may take place differently, these are generally what customers should expect from a precision machine company.
Understanding the Stages of the Precision Machining Process
Customer Contact & Consultation Process
These days, customers usually start by browsing a machining company’s website, after which they will call or email to establish contact. Once contact is established, the customer must provide blueprints and general volume demands, and then a thoughtful discussion about the project scope can follow (if needed, an NDA can be signed to protect IP). This will also involve determining a general idea of the processing requirements for the job, including the quantities needed, methods for assembly, and materials out of which they are to be fabricated. It will also look at in-house finishing services like deburring, installing helicoils, sandblasting, and tumbling, as well as subcontracted services such as anodizing, heat treating, or passivation.
One of the essential processing requirements for precision parts before creating a job involves a precision machine company’s engineers or machine design team looking over component blueprints, drawings, and other schematics. The engineering team will match the job with the purchase order, then verify that the estimated material cost is correct based on the part’s schematics. As the initial quote often only gives a rough estimate of materials and processes involved, the engineers will confirm the actual requirements and specifications, adding sequences or changing strategies to improve the overall production efficiency.
The engineering review also involves inspection reports, and engineers will review the specifications, working out any revisions. Additionally, ISO-certified machining companies must verify a component’s dimensions at each point in the fabrication process. Using the blueprints provided, this review also creates inspection reports to determine critical dimensions the machinists must follow when making measurements of tolerances. During the manufacturing process, engineers will also advise on other aspects of production, like factoring in time and resources needed for machining and welding. Though mainly by engineers, most seasoned machining companies will include at least one machinist in this process to prevent any issues on the shop floor.
Quoting Process: Evaluating Time & Reviewing Blueprints
Once the basics are established, a precision machine company needs to estimate then what the cost of production will be. This will include the cost of sourcing material and the time it will take to achieve the close tolerances needed during processing. Requirements for precision parts will sometimes not include cost estimates for materials, especially when these prices are volatile. The team quoting the job’s total price begins by studying the engineering review, including reviewing any specifications and technical data points the customer might provide. The machining company’s team determines the processing requirements for precision part fabrication, such as CNC turning or cutting and finishing methods. A precision machine company will typically utilize some enterprise resource planning (ERP) software during the quoting process, pricing the job based on the time each step will likely take. Many machining companies also use a customer relationship management (CRM) application in addition to their ERP system to track the job and ensure customer satisfaction.
The best machining companies are certified and will quote based on experience and industry knowledge, often consulting with their most skilled machinists. Everything quoted should be itemized in writing and approved before work begins.
Ordering and Inspecting Materials
Once a precision machine company receives a purchase order from their customer, pricing, and design changes must be noted on their quote to avoid future issues. These are entered into the machining company’s ERP system, after which the contract is reviewed, noting any quality clauses and other processing requirements for the precision parts.
When raw materials are ordered after the review phase, it’s necessary to ensure the material has been priced accurately and that delivery times are accurate. Engineers also look at the hardness of the material to be used during component processing. Requirements for precision parts’ material will differ depending on their purpose, with a precision machine company generally looking at material densities before production to determine the necessary hardness.
Once the final estimate comes back from the material suppliers, a reliable precision machine company will inspect the material to ensure sizes, price ranges, and grades are the same as quoted to the customer. Often, price is weighed against lead time when it comes to material, as sometimes the least expensive material will take longer to the source. It’s only after the material is available and has been adequately inspected that a machining company will begin the job.
The necessary processing requirements for precision parts look at the material’s thickness, length, diameter, and other physical qualities. Once it’s been suitably checked, it’s reviewed again to ensure it’s traceable, with heat numbers, lot numbers, and other specifications checked to ensure it matches the administrative paperwork. At this point, certificates are also inspected so that materials will meet the standards stipulated for the job. Accuracy is imperative in everything a precision machine company does.
If component fabrication is required, an ERP system helps manage the job. ERP software helps machining companies with processing requirements for precision parts, including amounts and costs of all materials, blueprints, inspection reports, the workflow of processes, and other information required to streamline the manufacturing process. This is all done to ascertain the quantity of work needed and the timescale on which it will be made. Rush orders aren’t uncommon in the industry, and most machining companies can improve their lead times, though this will depend on what other work they have lined up.
The planning team must always consider the customer’s processing requirements for precision parts throughout production, including being prepared for unforeseen circumstances.
Contact Staub Precision Machine, Inc.
Staub Precision Machine, Inc. specializes in machining operations to produce components with extremely tight tolerances for numerous industries, including aerospace, communications, defense, and healthcare sectors. We understand the processing requirements for precision parts for various applications, focusing on innovative solutions that benefit our customers by optimizing processes and ensuring quality. Through collaboration with our customers, we use our advanced technology and systems to meet their needs best.
To learn more about our processes and how we can serve your business as a customer, we invite you to inquire with our expert engineers and design team for your next project.
This blog is Part 1 of our two-part series discussing processing requirements for precision parts. Read Part 2 here!